Reflections on the Season, Part 1
This is how it all begins, with a few trays of seeds and soil in the greenhouse. It's the frozen depths of February, but planting these seeds is our perennial act of faith, that spring will come again--the snow will melt, the soil will warm, and we will nurture thousands upon thousands of seeds into an abundance of vegetables. Despite a later-than-usual spring (we're looking at you, April blizzard!), the season hit the ground running, and we're so pleased that our fields produced the abundance of beauty and deliciousness that it did!
Of course it's not that simply, or passive. Our success this year has much to do with our smart, energetic, and hard-working team. Kate our Farm Manager, is closing her 5th season with Blue Moon and knows it like the back of her hand. She has managed most aspects of the farm, and people will sometimes mistake her for the owner because of the ease with which she leads. We were joined this year by Tanya, our Assistant Manager, whose energy is boundless and her optimism and good nature cannot be squashed (ever!!). She's amazing.
We are also finishing our 2nd year with Sandi, a farm girl who aspires to pivot her family's farm to organic vegetables in the next few years. She learned the ropes here, contributed her care, thoughtfulness, power squats to get the work done. We're excited to see what happens next! Somehow we have been lucky enough to have veteran farmers Olivia and Brian join us, and a fantastic summer team of Rachels to boot. As far as farm crews go, it was about the best you can imagine. You guys rock!!
Besides our stellar team, some highlights for me this season have been:
* Spring Share! We offered our first-ever Spring Share and loved it. The early season vegetables were lovely and we loved having members visit the farm earlier in the season. We certainly plan to continue it, and hope to expand the membership.
* Melons! After several wet summers, we had a dry spell at just the right time for the melons, and we harvested some of the best-tasting melons we have grown.
*Tomatoes! Another benefactor of the dry August. I can always judge a tomato season by how overboard I went in freezing sauce. This year I was off the charts!
* Solar! We're so very excited to be harnessing the energy of the sun and meeting the power needs of the farm with solar panels. It's been a hope for a long time, and we finally got it done!
* Westside Community Market! We have attended this farmers market on Saturdays for the past 13 years and have always cherished the support of our customers, but this year takes the cake! We are blown away by the loyalty and the in-any-weather support of our market customers. We thank you!
* Our CSA Community! I always wanted to remain a small farm, one in which the direct contact with the families who eat our food is strong. We're so grateful for your support. It means we can focus on being good stewards of our land, growing the best food that we can, and supplying you and your family with some of the most nutrient-dense, delicious seasonal vegetables on the planet!!
While overall field production was successful, we experienced some ongoing issues that climate change and irregular weather patterns will only make worse in the future. Disease pressure in our Brassica family crops (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) was very high the for 3rd year in a row--made worse by wet weather in the early fall. We'll be taking a hard look at our crop mix this off-season, and most likely make some hard choices about what to grow and how to grow it in the future. We'll be eager to see what organic seed breeders are coming up with to help combat the issues, and looking at production methods that can help to mitigate problems.
We are taking a deep dive into our stewardship and farm fertility plans as well--after all, so much of plant health starts with the soil. We'll be making some changes to rejuvenate our soils and restore needed tilth and fertility. Heavy, pounding rains and wind have their effects on soil too, and our role in maintaining and improving our soils will only become more important in the future.
These are things that are critical to a sustainable future for our farm, and we're honored to do this work. We're also blessed to have your support! We are all here to eat well--but then there's what Wendell Berry called the extended experience of taste. It's an experience through food that connects us to the land and to the incredibly complex systems that brought it to us--its cultural, agricultural, and ecological story. The integrity of that food in the end is only as strong as the integrity of its story. We're very proud of the Blue Moon story, and we thank you for being a part of it!!